Using the overload to underload approach to train a young pitcher’s arm and central nervous system to increase arm speed is the right concept but the wrong approach when using weighted baseballs on a young pitcher. The problem is with using weighted baseballs on a young pitcher, who more than likely does not have the motor coordination of high velocity mechanics, is that it sacrifices the arm to teach the body how to move weight more efficiently and quickly. To understand how backwards this weighted baseball approach is for the young pitcher we must first look at what role the arm plays in the entire pitching delivery.
The role of the arm is to get into position to allow for the transfer of energy from the lower kinetic chain into the upper kinetic chain. Once this energy has transferred through the core, from the stride power into hip to shoulder separation, then into the shoulder, during external rotation, the arm’s role is to deliver the pitch to its desired location. Never does the arm work to generate pitching velocity on its own. It fires in reaction to the shoulder speeds that are the direct result of a power stride which converted into optimal hip to shoulder separation. To better understand this sequence of events through the entire kinetic chain, which leads to the top velocity of the pitcher, you need to learn the revolutionary approach to pitching velocity called 3X Pitching. 3X Pitching proves that to increase the coil of the shoulder during external rotation the pitcher must first increase linear stride power and then transfer that power into core torque at front foot strike through optimal hip to shoulder separation. Working first on the arm speed with weighted baseballs may increase internal to external rotation speeds through conditioning but it will not support optimal hip to shoulder separation which has been proven to hold the majority of a high velocity pitchers pitching velocity potential.
Based on the understanding of how pitching velocity is generated through the entire kinetic chain of the body stated above and also in the 3X Pitching approach, you can see that training with weighted baseballs, using an overload to underload approach, should not be used with young pitcher’s because it is only training the arm action of the entire delivery. It is not training the component, that the NPA proved in their 2005-2006 Velocity Study that 80% of velocity is generated from, which is hip to shoulder separation. Yes, this weighted ball approach may increase arm strength, using the weights, and may increase arm speed, through training the central nervous system to rotate the arm faster, but the final result will be much less effective for a young pitcher than taking a total body approach to velocity like with the 3X Pitching Velocity Program.
I used the Overload to Underload weighted baseballs throwing program for years. It happened that I was using this program the year I torn my rotator cuff when I was a young pitcher. I am not saying that this program was the reason for my tear but it did speed up the process of the injury. My problem was I had bad mechanics. I was an all arm pitcher and when I used this program it made everything even worse. The overloading with the weighted baseballs put more wear and tear on my cuff and in the end, even if I had added a few mph, it wouldn’t have been worth the extra wear and tear that came with it.
If you are looking to use weighted balls to increase pitching velocity, I really believe that you are looking for the easy answer here. Increasing pitching velocity is first developing yourself into a power athlete and then developing the motor coordination of power pitching mechanics like with the 3X Pitching mechanics. The 3X Pitching Velocity program gives you all of this with a revolutionary approach to increase pitching velocity. This approach uses the famous 3X Velocity System throwing program to develop the 3X Pitching mechanics and the famous Fusion System which is the strength and conditioning program to develop you into an elite power pitcher. So, stop looking for the easy way out and get serious with a pitching velocity program that actually teaches you high velocity mechanics like with 3X Pitching!
* The 3X Pitching Velocity Programs does use the weight baseballs in the 3 Level of the program after the young pitcher has developed good high velocity pitching mechanics.